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Effects of coaching on educators' and preschoolers' use of references to print and phonological awareness during a small-group craft/writing activity

Purpose: The current study investigated the effects of coaching as part of an emergent literacy professional development program to increase early childhood educators' use of verbal references to print and phonological awareness during interactions with children. Method: Thirty-one educators and 4 children from each of their classrooms (N = 121) were randomly assigned to an experimental group (21 hr of in-service workshops plus 5 coaching sessions) and a comparison group (workshops alone). The in-service workshops included instruction on how to talk about print and phonological awareness during a post-story craft/writing activity. All educators were video-recorded during a 15-min craft/writing activity with a small group of preschoolers at pretest and posttest. All videotapes were transcribed and coded for verbal references to print and phonological awareness by the educators and children. Results: Although at posttest, there were no significant group differences in the educators' or the children's references to print as measured by rate per minute, both the educators and the children in the experimental group used a significantly higher rate per minute of references to phonological awareness relative to the comparison group. Conclusion: Professional development that included coaching with a speech-language pathologist enabled educators and children to engage in more phonological awareness talk during this activity. (author abstract)
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